Well, hello there, 2017

Reading Time: 2 minutes

 

Happy 2017! I don’t know about you, but I don’t set New Year’s Resolutions, mostly because I’ve not had a lot of luck sticking with them over the years.

Instead what I’ve done for about the last 5 years is pick a word, or words around a broad theme that describes, at least in part, what I want for that year. Sort of an intention, if you will.

In the past it’s been things like “Focus, Engage & Connect”, “Moving Forward”, “Radical Abundance” and more. You can probably tell that some years are more woo-woo than others.

I also usually talk about my words with my dear friend, Susan, who does the same thing. She’s super creative and crafty and we’ve even made little boards with our words on them to have in our offices. One year she made one for me, and I was so touched.

I had trouble finding words for this year, and for a while I wasn’t sure why. Reflecting further I realized that while I’m trying to stay very positive about what 2017 holds for me, my family and my business, I am also acutely aware of some very real challenges we will be facing. It’s hard, for me anyway, to drum up positivity and purpose when I’m worried or fearful. So what I did what click on this silly Facebook gizmo that scrolled through a bunch of random words and when you clicked on it, it would give you your word for 2017. (A friend got “Taco”.) I played 4 times and got these words:

  • Love
  • Creativity
  • Abundance
  • Midas Touch

I actually like all 4, very much. Finding a theme to weave them together was more of a challenge. In thinking about the upcoming year one concept that I came back to again and again is that quote “perfection is the enemy of done”. But you don’t really want to position intentions like this in the negative, so I decided to go with the quote “Done is Better Than Perfect.”

"Done is Better Than Perfect."

“Done is Better Than Perfect.”

I like to correctly provide attribution to quotes in my writing, but it turns out that both versions of those 2 phrases have been said in somewhat similar ways, by a lot of people, including Voltaire, Confucius, Shakespeare and (if you believe the interwebs) Mark Zuckerberg. Whoever said it, I really like this quote from Brene Brown on perfection: “When perfectionism is driving us, shame is riding shotgun and fear is that annoying backseat driver.”

Brené Brown Quote on Perfectionism

Brené Brown Quote on Perfectionism

So back to my words/themes for 2017. I played around with those words and the perfection quote for a bit and came up with this:

“I am filled with love and creativity and will take in the abundance of life and share that abundance freely. Using my Midas Touch I will more forward, ever mindful that done is better than perfect.”

Yeah. That. I like it. And it sums up what I hope 2017 is all about. While I know there will be challenges ahead, I’m also hopeful and trust that this coming year will also bring lots of good things.

What about you? Any 2017 resolutions, words or themes you’d like to share?

Tips for Unplugging

Reading Time: 2 minutes

In yesterday’s blog post, I told you that I was on a beach in Hawaii, and why I was taking an unplugged vacation – my first in 9 years. This post is all about how I’m pulling it off.

  1. I told everyone I was going to do it. This is critical – I let all my current clients and any prospects I was talking with know that I was going to be on vacation and that it was going to be an unplugged vacation. You know what surprised me? The support I got when I told people that. 100% of the people I’ve told were on board and happy to plan around my time off.
  2. I delegated tasks. For the things I normally do that are critical to my business, I parsed those things out to others. Including checking my email! I also lined up resources to handle things for me just in case something comes up. I do a lot of technology consulting, so sometimes my client’s need things handled that can’t wait. Luckily, I’ve developed relationships with awesome smart and talented peers in my field that are happy to step in and handle things for me.
  3. I’m planning regular check-ins with my folks. I’m going to touch base with the people handling things for me a total of 3 times over the 9 days that I’ll be gone. It helps that only 5 of those days are normal work days. Checking in will make me feel better, and allow me to totally unplug the rest of the time.
  4. I did work ahead of time. Like my tweets and blog posts. I wrote them, created a schedule and used tools to post them while I’m gone. One of the tools? Zoho Social. With Zoho Social I can create & schedule tweets, LinkedIn and Facebook posts.

That’s it. If I can do it, so can you.

Aloha!

ER2CIGJANF

Take an Unplugged Vacation – I Am

Reading Time: 1 minutes

As you read this, I’m on a beach in Hawaii. Or at least I hope I am. Self-care is important for everyone. But it’s especially important for entrepreneurs. In 16 years of owning my own consulting business, I think I’ve taken less than 5 totally unplugged breaks. Normal people call these “vacations”.

As a business owner, vacations are a luxury. Stepping away and completely unplugging from your business is:
a. scary
b. impossible
c. risky
d. all of the above

Yet the benefits of unplugging are so enticing:
a. reconnect with people in your life
b. increased focus & creativity when you get back to work
c. improvements in your health – lowered blood pressure, better sleep and less depression
d. a fresh mindset

How am I accomplishing this? Read my next blog post.

H2H, or What My First Biz Mentor Taught Me

Reading Time: 2 minutes

I just saw a tweet from a colleague that I hold in high regard, and he referenced Bryan Kramer’s #H2H tweet – “There is no more B2B or B2C: It’s Human to Human, #H2H.” This was apparently back in 2014, – I somehow missed this “new” trend.

My reaction? Um, duh.

Yeah, sometimes I’m like a 7th grader. OK, I’m a LOT like a 7th grader a great deal of the time, but aren’t we all?

Kramer’s point is that the B2B and B2C designations led to ridiculous marketing speak and silly marketing jargon. I agree that the lexicon of marketing content is a little ridiculous (sometimes a lot ridiculous) but I disagree that it’s because of the segmentation of B2C vs B2C. That’s probably a good thing. Because businesses do make buying decisions differently than consumers.

Kramer’s right about one thing – both groups are made up of people. That reminded me of what my first business mentor, Edward Solomon, taught me. “It’s people buying people from people.” I worked for Ed at a technology consulting company and the firm placed consultants on large software development projects at Fortune 100 companies in the San Francisco Bay Area.

His advice has stuck with me.

It meant that I really listened to my customers, sought to understand what they needed on the project, but more than that, what their goals were, what they cared about, their families  and personal lives. And in return, I was honest, authentic and transparent. Ed taught me that those things mattered and that customers know when it’s missing.

To this day, it’s how I move through the world, both business and personal. So H2H is true, but it’s all about being a real person and treating your client’s like they are real people Because they are.

 

Filtering CRM Data for Fun & Profit

Reading Time: 1 minutes

Zoho’s New CRM

Zoho CRM recently unveiled their new CRM and we’re devoting a few blog posts to the coolest new features. But beyond cool, these are enhancements that will make you more productive and help you increase revenue and reduce expenses.

Click here for Zoho’s “What’s New?” post.

Don’t feel like reading but have questions? Get answers.

Fun with Filters!

Having a CRM database with all of your leads, prospect and customers is awesome… but only if you can easily find the right data at the right moment. With Zoho CRM’s new Advanced Filters, narrowing in on the information you need, quickly, is easier than ever.

The new filtering options provide you and your team myriad ways of getting right to the most important information and then acting on that information:

  • Deals closing this month that haven’t had any activity from your team. Now you can follow up to ensure you seal the deal.
  • Leads that have no open activity associated with them. Revive a cold lead and close a new sale.
  • Leads or deals that have overdue tasks. Get to those actions and reschedule, delegate or just, you know, do it.

 

Advanced Filters

 

<– Click image to view gif of filtering steps.

 

 

 

Help! I have questions!

If you want to learn more, or have questions about how Zoho CRM can help your organization, book a Zoho CRM Blitz Q&A with me here.

Taming the Email Beast – Get a Month of Your [Work] Life Back

Reading Time: 1 minutes

I was asked to present at the Small Business Tech Meetup held last night at Zoho Corporate HQ.

Email can be a huge time-waster, but it’s a necessary e̶v̶i̶l̶  tool for business, well, for life, actually.

I Wish I Could Spend More Time On Email

Estimates vary, but the McKinsey Global Institute said in 2012 that an average employee spends 13 hours a week clearing their inbox and that it’s often the number one most time-consuming work activity. I’m going to go out on a limb and say that number has probably gone up. But let’s stick with that number for a minute.

 

Would you like to have just a portion of your life back from managing email? Let’s say you could recoup a little less than half of that time, we’ll call it 5 hours a week, just to be conservative. That’s about 250 hours a year, or 31 days or a whole damn month! A MONTH!!!!

Here’s a link to the prez I delivered at the Meetup with some strategies, habits and tools to help you do just that. Small Biz Tech Meetup August Prez

SalesInbox – Email for Closers

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Zoho’s New CRM

Zoho CRM recently unveiled their new CRM and we’re devoting a few blog posts to the coolest new features. But beyond cool, these are enhancements that will make you more productive and help you increase revenue and reduce expenses. Click here for Zoho’s “What’s New?” post.
Don’t feel like reading but have questions? Get answers.

Today’s Zoho CRM feature? SalesInbox.

 

coffee's for closers

You can’t be in sales and not have heard that famous quote about coffee being for closers only. Glengarry Glen Ross is a brutal film about the ugly side of sales.

Zoho CRM’s new SalesInbox is Email for Closers – what if you could view your inbox – yes, that unholy behemoth of distractions, drivel and deals – and hone in on the really important stuff first? Like Deals? Leads? SalesInbox lets you do just that.

Here’s a list of my top 8* fave things about SalesInbox:

  1. Prioritize your emails and get to the most important emails first.
  2. View contextual details from your CRM database right in the email list in a timeline view.
  3. Do CRM tasks via drag & drop right from your inbox. Things like, create a lead, contact or deal.
  4. Stop using your inbox as a de-facto to-do list – move emails to tasks.
  5. Add reminders to emails so you don’t forget to respond within a set time.
  6. Don’t let important follow-up fall through the cracks, with ResponseWatch – SalesInbox will ping you when you DON’T get a response.
  7. Use personalized templates to save time and track opens & clicks. Even see which team member has the best open and click rates on their email templates.
  8. And of course SalesInbox works on your mobile device, so you can be just as productive on the go.

*Why 8 and not 10? Because I created the list without a number in mind and don’t really want to add 2 fluff things to make the list a nice, round 10.

SalesInbox

 

Inbox prioritized.

 

 

 

SalesInbox ResponwWatch

 

 

Waiting for a response? Let ResponseWatch monitor it for you.

 

 

SalesInbox Lead Creation

 

Create leads, contacts & deals automatically from your Inbox.

 

 

 

 

Event Alert!

If you are in the San Francisco Bay Area please come join me as I share strategies, habits and tools to Tame the Email Beast. I’ll be speaking at the Small Business Tech Meetup in Pleasanton, CA on August 24th, 2016 at 6:15 pm. Click here for all the details and to RSVP.

Help! I have questions!

If you want to learn more, or have questions about how Zoho CRM can help your organization, book a Zoho CRM Blitz Q&A with me here.

Edit & Share Office Files with Google Drive

Reading Time: 1 minutes

I love Google Apps for Work, I made the switch from Outlook on December 14, 2014 and I’ve never looked back. In talking with my clients about moving to Google, there are a few misconceptions about going to Google Apps for Work. The most common is that you have to use an @gmail.com address. Um, nope. My stacy@po3inc.com is through Google.

The other most common myth with Google is that you can’t save/edit Microsoft Office files from Drive.

Side note: Drive is Google’s online file storage and sync service and depending on which Google Apps for Work plan you are on, you get either 30GB, 1 TB or Unlimited storage. Yep, UNLIMITED storage if you have more than 5 users and are on the Unlimited plan which is $10 per user per month.

But you CAN edit Word, Excel & Powerpoint files on ANY device – without any Office software.

Step 1: From the Chrome Web Store, download the Chrome extension for editing Office files with Docs, Sheets or Slides.
Step 2: In Google Drive, click the New button in the top-left corner and choose File upload, then select an Office file on your hard drive.
Step 3: To open and edit the Office file in Word, Excel or PowerPoint format, locate it in Google Drive and double-click its file name.

Editing Word on Drive

<– Click image to see .gif of the steps.

 

 

 

 

Want to try Google Apps for Work – click here. Use this promo code to save 20% off your first year: 7MYH7JAAVW7CRU

Have questions about migrating to Google or how it works or why I love it so much? Book a 30 minute Google Apps for Work Blitz Q&A with me here.

Unleash the Rain – July 19, 2016, Taming the Email BEAST! Blogging Live

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Welcome to the live blogging of my radio show. The show is live every Tuesday from 4-6 pm pacific and we broadcast on MutinyRadio.FM. If you’re in the San Francisco Bay Area, feel free to drop by the studio at 2781 21st St, San Francisco, CA 94110 at 21st & Florida in the beautiful Mission District of San Francisco. Bring pie. Or Coffee. Or both!

If you want to listen in live, go to MutinyRadio.FM and click the speaker icon on the right side of the page where it says Click Here to Listen Live: If you want to hear the podcast after the fact, go here and they are listed by date. Or, super easy, subscribe on iTunes, just search for “Unleash the Rain” (without quotes.)

The content is broken down monthly along broadly thematic lines:

First Tuesday: SME’s on SME; Subject Matter Experts on Sales & Marketing Enablement
Second Tuesday: Keep Your Eye on the Ball; Why Operations Stuff is Important Even if it’s not Terribly Exciting
Third Tuesday: Geek Week! The Latest Tech Stuff, Gadgets and a Whole Lotta Productivity Porn
Fourth Tuesday: The Enlightened Entrepreneur: Keep your Sanity and Your Company/Job/Family/Life

If you have any questions, you can reach us live during the show on the station bat line at415-550-0511 or via our Facebook page or Twitter.

/Begin Live Blogging

Taming the Email BEAST!

Today, at the top of the hour we’re going to discuss how to manage your email more effectively.

60: Discussing the ubiquity of email and how to get control – all productivity
70: If you are in a service business or support products, invest in a cloud based support ticketing system, like Zendesk, Zoho Support,
72: Create a “disposable” email address, like MyName2016@yahoo.com, and use that to sign up for services and products that aren’t core to your business.
76: Use Unroll.Me to bundle subscriptions and it will also help you unsubscribe from the lists to which you no longer want to be subscribed.
80: Many productivity experts advocate for “Inbox Zero” Setup a Zapier “Zap” to automatically copy emails to your To-Do list app, like Trello. Setup your Inbox
90: Use “mirroring” to make your email communication more effective
99: More and more email is getting open on mobile devices: http://www.emailmonday.com/mobile-email-usage-statistics
103: Contextual Email organization – Zoho Email and Zoho CRM SalesInbox

Unleash the Rain – July 12, 2016 Live Blogging Experiment

Reading Time: 3 minutes

So I’m going to try to live blog my weekly radio show, Unleash the Rain, today. The show is live every Tuesday from 4-6 pm pacific and we broadcast on MutinyRadio.FM. If you’re in the San Francisco Bay Area, feel free to drop by the studio at 2781 21st St, San Francisco, CA 94110 at 21st & Florida in the beautiful Mission District of San Francisco. Bring pie. Or Coffee. Or both!

I keep saying I’m going to blog after every show, but you know what? I don’t. So I am going to try an experiment today and live blog DURING THE show. So if you want to listen in live, go to MutinyRadio.FM and click the speaker icon on the right side of the page where it says Click Here to Listen Live: If you want to hear the podcast after the fact, go here and they are listed by date. Or, super easy, subscribe on iTunes, just search for “Unleash the Rain” (without quotes.)

My goal is to blog the relevant details of each show (these may be super short blogs) and tag the time in the show so if you just want to hear that bit, you can fast forward to that in the podcast. If you’re listening live, I’m going to post updates to the blog periodically, but you cannot fast forward through any of our nuttiness. And we’re kinda nutty.

Since it’s a weekly show, I’ve broken down the content monthly along a broadly thematic line:

First Tuesday: SME’s on SME; Subject Matter Experts on Sales & Marketing Enablement
Second Tuesday: Keep Your Eye on the Ball; Why Operations Stuff is Important Even if it’s not Terribly Exciting
Third Tuesday: Geek Week! The Latest Tech Stuff, Gadgets and a Whole Lotta Productivity Porn
Fourth Tuesday: The Enlightened Entrepreneur: Keep your Sanity and Your Company/Job/Family/Life

Today being the Second Tuesday, it’s all ops, baby. Not to totally scare the crap out of you, but it’s just past the halfway point of the year. What can/should you be doing at this point in the year to make sure your operational projects are in good shape, what projects you might want to line up for the end of the year (which is just around the freakin’ corner, I know, right?) and what projects you should absolutely put on ice until 2017. Yes, I just said 2017. Don’t shoot me, I’m just the messenger.

If you have any questions, you can reach us live during the show on the station bat line at 415-550-0511 or via our Facebook page or Twitter.

OK, from here on out, it’s gonna be live blogging, for better or worse!

12 min: Discussion of how important backups are for every company.
18 min: Questions from audience member, Scorpio, on WordPress hosting & driving web traffic
30 min: Discussing SEO
45 min: Using Twitter & Hashtags & link shorteners
55 min: Facebook for advertising
72 min: Office furniture and writing while standing
86 min: Operations stuff for the rest of the year!!! If you are thinking about changing or upgrading your accounting system, now is the time to start planning. Use this time to clean up and archive old data. And if you’ve integrated your accounting system with your CRM, if you move one, you are likely going to have to move the other as well. If you’ve only been on a legacy client/server based accounting package, like Quickbooks, now is also the time to look at cloud based alternatives. That process should start with looking at your detailed business & technical requirements. Make sure it’s not what you have now, but what you need and might be able to implement if you weren’t hindered by your legacy system(s).

Well, that was fun, I’ll get better with the timing of the topics, I’m not used to tracking the time with each topic. It’s also hard to blog and talk at the same time. What I will say is that having Scorpio in the studio asking questions about blogging and tweeting and hosting was super fun and I love to talk about that cool marketing stuff. We did still get to half year plan check and end of year planning for critical operational stuff.

Would love any feedback on this live blogging experiment…